The IoD’s student membership allows you the chance to seek practical business advice, make valuable connections and even land that dream job, says Jordan Holder
I attend many networking events and can spot nervous networkers a mile off. They walk in, scan the room and ask: “Do I know anyone?” The answer is usually “No”.
The next task is to find the canapés and a drink. Refreshment found, they then try to break into a circle of business people, often unsuccessfully, and then they hover near a conversation. It’s all very awkward.
Where does making the most of your IoD student membership fit into this? Well, you get out as much as you put in, so if you’re that person I’ve just described – the nervous networker – you need to break the mould and engage.
IoD student membership began in 2012 with just 176 members. It has since grown to more than 3,000 students across the UK. It allows students to engage, network and connect with business leaders who they wouldn’t normally have the chance to meet.
Networking sounds scarier than it actually is. It’s going up to someone and having a chat – that’s all. We can dress it up to sound fancy, but that is what networking is – having a chat. After the initial hellos, you’ll find you’re immersed in conversation with your fellow networker and you’ll be wondering why you were panicking about it at all. Easy stuff, right?
Helping hand for students
Another benefit to IoD student membership is the events, and an even bigger plus is the discount offered. There are local as well as national events that student members can attend, including the IoD Annual Convention.
The convention is a must if you’re looking to make great connections and over 2,000 business leaders worldwide attend, so you’re guaranteed to meet someone of interest.
However, it’s important to note that you don’t just attend for the free wine and canapés – it’s so much more than that. Meeting influential leaders as a student allows for connections to be made early on, and these are crucial.
Should you need advice, a work placement or an internship – or want to follow up on a potential job offer – these are the people to know, so make a good impression.
I’m the IoD’s student membership officer and a committee member of IoD Suffolk – the only student to sit on an IoD committee in the UK. I joined in 2014 and have spoken at the IoD’s Annual Conference in Suffolk, appeared on the front cover of IoD Suffolk, have a column in the magazine, and represent all IoD students based in Suffolk, working with local colleges and sixth-form centres on joint initiatives.
Additionally, I attend IoD Suffolk events and have attended Pall Mall gatherings, such as a meeting with The Apprentice winners Tim Campbell and Yasmina Siadatan. I even met my now boss at an IoD event after he heard me speak at various engagements and offered me a job that I love.
Now, although I was in the right place at the right time, it doesn’t mean all students will be. It takes hard work, dedication and a successful mindset to succeed in business.
Being in an environment such as the IoD will allow you to thrive – it’s the stepping stone for the new wave of entrepreneurs and business leaders.
I’d love to hear your views, so get in touch, email me
Jordan Holder is the IoD’s student membership officer